YIELD AND QUALITY OF VEGETABLE CROPS IN CONVENTIONAL AND ORGANIC PRODUCTION SYSTEMS
Project Number: 6222-21220-002-00
Start Date: Aug 01, 2005
End Date: Jan 29, 2009
Changing consumer demands for more nutritious and culturally diverse foods are driving vegetable production into new arenas. Producers who diversify their agricultural operations will be in a position to capitalize on these changes. The overall objective of the project is to develop improved and sustainable systems that vegetable producers can use to maintain a competitive advantage while delivering safe produce of high quality to consumers. Specific objectives are: 1) Develop integrated, sustainable, including organic, production systems for vegetables; 2) Identify components of vegetable production systems that influence phytonutrients, and related quality factors, in vegetables; 3) Identify and prioritize key weed/crop interactions and characterize the optimum control mechanisms for those weeds in vegetable crops; 4) Develop economical, sustainable, including organic, and ecologically sound integrated production strategies that control weeds in vegetables; and 5) Determine application timing and rate of manure needed for organic vegetable crop production systems.
Components of vegetable production systems, including organic methods, will be studied in the greenhouse and field to determine how they interact with environmental and soil characteristics. To this end components that limit, or enhance, quality of transplants, or quantity of yield, will be identified, long-term sustainable, including organic, production systems will be developed, and effects of the production systems on expression of quality factors will be determined. In support of these efforts, weed/crop problems in horticultural crops (emphasis on onions, peppers, sweet corn, squash, melons, and watermelon) will be identified and prioritized, and effects of cultural practices, including use of allelopathic compounds and other biological control agents on weed species determined. Cultural practices that improve crop yield will be developed so that superior products will be delivered to consumers in a sustainable manner.